It’s that time of the year when you have to analyse the strengths and weaknesses, review the gaps of last season and if the new signings have been able to plug those, gloss over the new ones who might wear the jersey this season, predict the position in the league and in Europe. This is definetely going to be a difficult season for the club, both in the EPL as well as in CL. So lets start looking at the team now…
Goal Keepers :Rating 3/ 5
Almunia – He had a very good season by his own standards. He was brave at times and a bit nervous at others. But if he can produce a season like last one, I think we can look at having a top 3 finish. He will be dealing with a new central defence combination and this could be quite crucial for the overall defensive record for the team this season.
Fabianski – I need some more confident performances from him before I can say that he is actually going to be our future goalie
Vito Manone – Well too young and raw to make a comment
So, though Goalkeeping doesnt get discussed when we look at the shortages or excesses in the squad, we seriously have some problems if Almunia gets injured or loses form. Maybe we need to buy one of the experienced stoppers like Green or someone the next time they are available.
Sagna-Gallas-Vermaelen-Clichy – This will be the preferred back four and I think if Gallas doesn’t goof up and Vermaelen adjusts quickly to the pace of the Premier league, we have a solid back four. Clichy and Sagna had a wonderful 2007-08 and were in the Premier League team of the year. But they let themselves down with some occasional shabby performances and injuries last season. So this is a chance for them to come back and prove a point.
Ebuoe – Djourou- Silvestre-Gibbs – The back up for each of these four positions have actually got some experience playing last year due to various injuries of the starting four. Djourou and Gibbs have certainly matured into future stars. Ebour if he can control himself, provides some wonderful runs and breaks. He has a good skill to run with the ball. Song is a good utility player who can play in central defence as well as in the holding-midfield role.
The rating is 3.5 and not 4 because we have no idea how Vermaelen will adjust to the new surroundings and team-mates. So it all depends on him to make this rating go up and in the process have a strong defensive set up for the Gunners.